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Old 04-23-2008, 06:37 PM
6 posts, read 45,298 times
Reputation: 10


For anyone living in Fishkill, East Fishkill, Hopewell...in Dutchess
I've heard alot of mixed messages about Van Wyck and John Jay HS - we live in the area and these are the schools my kids will go to. The mixed messages have me wondering if I should research other school districts to move into. We value education and what I really need to know - preferably from parents with kids in the schools or from former students -
Is there a sense of community?
Are students encouraged to attend 4 year colleges?
How bad is the overcrowding?
How are the teachers?
Are there fights regularly? Do you ever worry for safety?
Anything else, any personal experiences that you think would help me make a decision?

Last edited by am87288; 04-23-2008 at 07:13 PM.. Reason: Add to it
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Old 04-24-2008, 09:32 AM
Location: Savannah, GA
1,492 posts, read 3,646,522 times
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Oh I can write you a BOOK on both places as 2 of my kids have been through Van Wyck and both now in the high school!

Here's some answers to you questions-
Is there a sense of community?
No. At both schools they aren't very welcome to parental involvement. At Van Wyck-you can't go anywere in that building unless it's guidance or the nurse-even for teacher's meetings you have to be physically escorted by a monitor to it. The dress code is for the birds too.

Are students encouraged to attend 4 year colleges?
There's VERY little guidance at all. We just got done with the college selection stuff. It's ALL left up to you-except your child had better know by Dec.1st what schools they want to apply to-that's the deadline set by guidance so they can get everything together to send out. And they'll push the "school of the year"-this year was SUNY Canton-because the GC's went there on a tour. Last year was SUNY Cortland. Other GC's push the kids to go to the colleges they went to. And heaven forbid you child wants to attend a school down south-they really put them down.

Overcrowding-it's a nightmare at both schools. Van Wyck has a strip painted down the hallway for crowd management. If the kids are caught over it-detention. There are stairs labeled up or down only. Honors classes typically have 35-39 kids in them. At Jay, the kids have to walk outside to get to classes since the halls are way too congested. Again, over crowded classes. Or AP's that get wait listed since there are so many kids that want it and can't get in unless a student drops it(in the first week).

How are the teachers?

I find that there's a huge lack of communication. They all seem to think that 12-18 year olds should be in full control and parents aren't welcome. If your student is failing-be prepared that you'll rarely hear about it-unless it's the report cards or progress reports-they usually come in the 7th week or later in a quarter. And you'll NEVER hear from them in emails-even though they ask you for all ways to contact you-it's a joke.

As to fights, yes there are quite a few-read the Southern Dutchess News every Wednesday to see the East Fishkill Police reports. The biggest problems are drugs and theft. Heroin is big at the school-always problems across the street that the plaza with it and other drugs. You kids lockers in the gym are easy prey to theft-it's very easy to break the locks and get Ipods, cell phones, cash, etc. Even the clothes get stolen.

Sorry, I can't give you a bright picture about either. And I went to both schools myself graduating in 83. The schools are slowly becoming what New Rochelle was 10 years ago-that's what Mr. Tobin told me about what he's been dealing with. We are not sending our third to either-hopefully we'll be out of NY by then. Wappingers doesn't put any money into the schools and they are falling apart. But you should know that as a resident already. The sewage is backing up badly into the bathroom by the cafeteria at Jay and the kids have to eat lunch smelling that-you get overpowered by it going to the nurses office.
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Old 04-24-2008, 02:00 PM
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Default Wow!

That sounds really bad. I know the master plan was voted down, is there any talk of other improvements in next year's budget?

Do you know anything about Arlington? I've heard it's good but also noticed it listed as a school in need of improvement w/ title 1 funding.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-24-2008, 03:20 PM
Location: 'Burbs of Manhattan
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Are there fights regularly? Do you ever worry for safety?
The worst fights were three years ago when there was blood all over the main lobby. Knifes were present, and guys were attacking girls, and girls were attacking guys.

However, those kids graduated.

Oh, and there was supposedly another incident in one of the halls. Blood was all over the lockers. A knife was involved, too?

Or that is at least what I heard..
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:00 PM
6 posts, read 45,298 times
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Default Anything good?

Has anyone out there had good experiences with Van Wych or John Jay?
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Old 05-09-2008, 10:07 PM
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I've never heard stories like this before... every school has "crazys" in it, but let's be serious.... it also depends on whether or not your child "fits in" or associates with such nuisances. FYI, East Fishkill is amongst the highest demanded townships in Dutchess County.... I doubt it's because of all the "violence" going on in teh schools. If that were true, it wouldn't be so hard to find an affordable house in the area. Perhaps read the first poster's response more objectively. I'm not trying to be rude, but one or 2 stories doesn't make up an entire district. Anyone who feels that way should just go private or perhaps one might want to join a monistary. Just trying to shed some humor on the situation. I'm a Realtor for 8 years in Dutchess and no, I've never had a single person say "I dont want East Fishkill, the schools are bad." (hahaha) East Fishkill/Wappingers Schools are just F-I-N-E. Many high end homes with parents who are strict on their children.... I guess it depends on who you ask. (Just my 2 cents)
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Old 01-21-2010, 02:13 AM
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I live in East Fishkill and my kids go to Brinckerhoff Elementary School which as far as I'm concerned is an good school. The teachers and faculty are caring and I've never heard of any major issues. My kids are also on the path for Van Wyck and John Jay and expect as the kids get older for more problems to arise. Life! I myself made it through the Yonkers school system and survived. So Dutchess is a piece of cake as I don't see any metal detectors, yet. I've heard from several people that Van Wyck is seriously overcrowded to the point of it being dangerous even possibly a fire hazard. What happen to abiding by the NYS building code or fire code? This could be a point for litigation. Do we have any lawyers in EF that could review this. If you have a certain skillset, give a little of your not so free time and help out. The hallways at Van Wyck are so crowded and kids fall. Forget the stairway, don't go there. Anyway, make you voice heard by VOTING! and tell the Wappingers OLD FARTS to move to Florida instead of voting NO to the proposed changes for increasing the schools capacity. East Fishkill is a great place and it's all about families. EVERYONE needs to make their voice heard at school, town hall, etc... If you want to make things better for your kids, well, you know what to do. Vote, write, phone, attend meetings. They'll get the message.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:00 AM
Location: Savannah, GA
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Being I grew up here, I can truly say our schools have gone badly down hill. I was educated in these same schools-graduated Jay in 83. I have had two out of 3 so far go through Van Wyck and Jay. Another going in from Myers next year because Van Wyck didn't have room for our school's 5th graders.

Van Wyck is seriously over crowed. Shuchat also has rules that boggle my mind. First there are lines on the floors in places, if a student goes over that line in the hallway-it's detention. Go to the Van Wyck website and read about their dress code. Only school IN the district that has it. It is pointed more toward the girls than the boys. Van Wyck a few years ago had a large problem with students having oral sex in the stairwells, on school buses and other areas of the building. There was a problem with kids cutting themselves-mostly the honor students. The honor's teachers will tell you that you kids will get stressed out-that they have 3-4 hours a night of homework some nights-I'll never let my last child go into honors at all-honors is dropped in 11th grade. Only AP courses if your able to get into them-they have wait lists to get in. I had a friend who's child was accused of dealing pot in Van Wyck. They searched the locker and nothing. They interrogated the child for 2 hours before a parent was called. Shuchat expelled the child from the school WITHOUT a superintendent's hearing! Because the family didn't have the means to hire a lawyer, the child was sent to the alternative school for one year. Was allowed back to school for high school. The child who made the accusation had a long history of behavioral problems and suspensions. He had it out for this child because that child spoke up about being bullied. They never found anything and the police cleared the child of any wrong-but Shuchat still expelled the child. The other thing is that they want NO parental involvement at all. Don't be surprised that you can't go to help you child's class with a project or anything else. I had to be escorted by a AP to sell yearbooks in the cafeteria lobby and had to have another school employee escort me to the main lobby when it was time to leave. And I was on the PTA-they don't want parents there period.

Don't expect phone calls if your child is failing a class at either school. They rely only on the report cards and 5 week progress reports as you means of communication. Some won't even bother to call you back after trying to reach them. Those contact sheet you fill out in Sept? The teachers throw them out. I can't tell you how many of them will tell you after you've made that call, that they don't know your email nor phone number.

My oldest who's in college to be a teacher was at Jay running the track during the summer. The school secretary came out and demanded to know if she was being supervised by a teacher and whose permission she had to be there. As district residents, we are all entitled to use the outdoor track during daylight hours-the state troopers use it daily for runs. It's no wonder why she won't come back here and teach in her own district. My child put her in her place-she's a voter and has every right to be there. The woman threatened to call the police. Yet other adults were there that morning walking-one came over to defend my child. The woman stormed off back to the school after that because she was in the wrong. By the way-my children are/were athletes at Jay. They made scholar athletes to boot-so they weren't the bad kids by any means. My advice is talk to people with older kids who are in the schools-you'd be surprised what you do hear.

This area's schools have been ruined I hate to say by people moving in from the lower counties. People moved here in droves because they couldn't afford where they lived there. So now our schools are over crowded and it's not the older residents voting budgets down. My Mom is 86 and votes yes because she believes kids need a decent education. We have over 60,000 voters in Wappingers, yet we get less than 5,000 voting in May. Talk about apathy. The newbies here can't be bother to vote. We haven't had a school building built here in Wappingers since the late 60's. They had talked back when I was in school about breaking it up into two districts-they should. We'd get more state aid that way and more state grants. Our schools used to be accredited when I went through. They no longer can qualify for it-poor test grades, buildings that need updating are part of why we can't get it. Van Wyck since the testing standards started for ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies has been on the watch list of schools needing improvement. That's over 8 years now. Same with Wappingers Junior High. Neither have shown improvement. I can't tell you how many board meetings I've been to-I've also been on advisory committees here that are a joke. The board doesn't listen-they are yes men to the teacher's union. It's terrible what's become of this district-it used to be one of the top ones in the state-that's no longer the case.

Last edited by CampingMom; 01-21-2010 at 07:15 AM..
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:45 PM
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Van Wyck school is horrible, my two kids went through it, had to hire a lawyer at one point. My third will be going there in two years and Im only hoping that the Principal is retired by then. He is spineless. The teachers that my son had in the 7th grade should be retired, they did not do their job. I am not looking forward to my other child going there, hoping those three years go by real quick.
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:31 AM
1,341 posts, read 4,909,260 times
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choose arlington schools. PERIOD. Yes there are beautiful developments in wappingers..and beautiful developments in arlington..but when choosing a district..arlington is preferred hands down....even the realtors know it.

If you want something a little (5 miles) north..Millbrook schools are fantastic as well, one elementry, one middle and a BRAND new high school.... Arlington built two schools recently, vail farm and unionvale, and did a phenom job..both are on the same plot of land, so you literally only have to go into one area from Kindergartnen thru middle school, which alot of parents love.

Arlington homes and taxes are much higher though...millbrook has alot of "old money".
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